Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in the world by JSTOR. Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- journal-content . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. STUDY By F. Holme Brush and Pencil Vol. VII JANUARY, 1 90 1 No. 4 DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT, PAINTER Few American painters have attained wider or more substantial popularity than Daniel Ridgway Knight. I say American painters, advisedly. Upward of thirty years of residence abroad, and of inces- sant work on French scenes and subjects, would lead many, perhaps to class Mr. Knight with the ex- patriated disloyals who have found more charm and profit in foreign than in American art circles. But the artist to-day is as enthusiastic an American as he ever was. His residence abroad was due primarily to the accident of study, and suc- cess in his career is responsible for its permanency. The reason for Mr. Knight's popularity is not far to seek. The trite epigram that it is the pres- ence of qualities, not the absence of faults, that gives value to a work of art, expresses a truth that the artist early recognized. The stern, the grewsome, the terrible, doubt- less have a legitimate place in art, but it is the pictures of winsome qualities that people wish to buy and live with. These are the essential char- acteristics of all of Mr. Knight's canvases, and the wisdom of his adopted policy is evidenced by the fact that his paintings have brought him medals and competence. True, he is for the most part the painter of a single class of models — his demure little peasant-girl with her wooden shoes and picturesque costume appears and reappears in his pictures. His backgrounds are prone to be pleasing vistas of hill, valley, and stream, or flower-dashed meadow, all subordinated to the main figure in the foreground for which they serve as a setting. But one can readily understand that with a pretty model, and such delightful DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT % From a Photograph 194 BRUSH AND PENCIL KNIGHT'S STUDIO AT POISSY scenery as that in which the Seine valley abounds, un- told charming com- binations can be made; and in mak- ing these combina- tions the artist hafe been indefatigable. It might puzzle the casuist to ac- count for Knight's love of the dainty and beautiful ex- cept on the theory of reaction. His early surroundings were shorn of every semblance of the artistic. His parents were Quakers, and his early home in Philadelphia, where he was born, was more straightlaced and serious than attractive. It was a home of "thees" and "thous," of simple manners, of inflexible rules. A ban was placed under the parental roof on pictures and music, and not a wall was brightened or an hour beguiled by either. Few men who have won distinc- tion with the palette and brush have started under less favorable auspices. Knight, after leaving school in Philadelphia, was entered as an apprentice in a wholesale hardware house — another Quaker establish- ment as rigid in its rules and as unbend- ing in its discipline as his home. He was early given to un- derstand that the proper fijnction of an apprentice was to toe the mark with deference and punctuality and to devote himself to the worldly gain of his employer. He acquitted himself as a Quaker boy might be expected to, and fostered his love of knight's glass studio at poissy DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT, PAINTER 195 art in secret by copying in pen and ink engravings from books he borrowed from the Franklin Institute library. One of these boyish efforts, which took the evenings of six weeks to complete, is still in his possession. It has appreciated greatly in value, in the artist's estimation at least, since it was originally sold to his sister for twenty-five cents and a bunch of grapes. THE WOOD-CUTTER'S COTTAGE By Daniel Ridgway Knight Knight owes his start on his professional career to his grand- father, who, Quaker that he was, admitted taking pleasure in looking over these youthful drawings. One day he showed a selec- tion of them to a friend, who insisted on submitting them to certain dealers and critics. The sheets went the rounds of Philadelphia, and were warmly praised, and the grandfather was convinced that, in view of Ridgway's talent, he himself was .justified in abetting the boy in following a course his father deprecated on the ground that painting was the pursuit of light-minded and fast-living people. The sturdy Quaker's opposition, therefore, was broken, the hard- ware-house apprenticeship was given up, and young Knight was 196 BRUSH AND PENCIL permitted to enter the classes of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. One year was spent in that institution, working from the antique and from life, and the first strictly professional work done was to execute a large number of crayon portraits, life-size, during his holidays at Chambersburg. After another season spent at the UN DEUIL By Daniel Ridgway Knight Copyright, Goupil & Co. Academy, the artist's father caught something of his own enthusiasm, and urged him, since he had chosen to study art as his life-work, to go to Europe and take the best course of instruction obtainable. He offered to lend the money necessary for that purpose, and shortly afterward, with parental sanction and support, young Knight was settled in Paris. He there entered Gleyre's Atelier, the largest in Paris at that time, and which readers of Trilby will remember from Du Maurier's graphic descriptions. He passed the examination, and became also a member of the ficole des Beaux Arts. He spent three years of close study, drawing at the Beaux Arts and painting at Gleyre's, and then passed a winter in Rome, studying at the British Academy, returning to America with well-filled portfolios. QUIETUDE By Daniel Ridgway Knight Copyright 1900, Manzi, Joyant & Co AMERICAN PAINTINGS Plate Five DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT, PAINTER 199 Knight then took a studio in his native city, Philadelphia, painted portraits and genre pictures, and also conducted a class of lady pupils. About this time he married Miss Rebecca Morris Webster, and resolved to bend every energy toward compassing another period of study in Europe. He fortified himself for this undertaking by securing a number of orders for pictures from prominent Phila- delphians, and with the funds for a pos- sibly extended resi- dence abroad in view, he and his young wife set forth and reached Paris in 1 87 1, when the city was still suffer- ing from the effects of the Commune. The brilliance and gayety of the capital, however, had little attraction for Knight, or per- haps he was too wise to yield to the charms and distrac- tions of Parisian studio life. So, shortly after the birth of his eldest son, in 1873, he moved with his fam- ily to Poissy, a pretty, picturesque town on the banks of the Seine, where lived the great French artist Meis- sonier. An acquaintance was made with Meissonier, which ripened into a warm friendship, and ever afterward Knight acknowledged the French painter as his master, and did much of his work under his direct supervision. No struggling artist ever had a kindlier and more helpful mentor. The relation of adviser and pupil began from a chance scrutiny of some of Knight's summer sketches by Meissonier, who admired them, but frankly pointed out their elements of weakness. The French master suggested that if Knight would remain in his vicinity, SUMMER EVENING By Daniel Ridgway Knight Copyright 1898, Boussod, Manzi, Joyant & Co. 200 BRUSH AND PENCIL and would devote himself to the paint- ing of a large pic- ture of local scenery, he would give him his "conseils." It was under these cir- cumstances that the "Lavenses" .was commenced, and it was under Meisson- ier's guidance that it was executed. This picture was Knight's first great success. It was ex- hibited at the Paris Salon, and was bought by F. O. Mat- thiesen, of New York, in whose col- lection it still hangs. Good landscapes, good models, and good advice from his neighbor, Meis- sonier, soon ban- ished all thought from Knight's mind of ever returning to his Paris studio and associates. He openly avowed the great French painter his master, and even after success had crowned his efforts was accustomed to go to him humbly for counsel on all occasions, both in the selection of his subjects and in the execution of his work. In a sense it was a new world for Knight, and one in which he took supreme delight. The charming scenery along the Seine has few equals from an artist's standpoint, and Knight reveled in its beauties. He chose all his models among the peasant-girls from the suburbs of Paris, who, by the way, are very different from those made familiar to the public by Millet and Breton, being of a brighter and more refined type, which is due, doubtless, to the neighboring city. Knight's boyhood experience now stood him in good stead. It had inculcated habits of industry; and now that he was pleasantly settled in a painter's paradise, he was an indefatigable worker. Picture followed picture, each apparently adding to the success of its JULY MORNING By Daniel Ridgway Knight Coyright 1899, the Artist DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT, PAINTER 20 1 predecessor. "The Vintage at Chanteloup," "The Harvesters' Repast," "The Water Carrier," "Une Halt," "After Breakfast," "Un Deuil," "The Portionless Girl," "The Gossips," "The Inventor," "Burning Brush," "Potato Harvest," "Hailing the Ferry," "The Shepherd and his Friends," "The Idler," "First Sorrow," "Crossing the Brook," "The Declaration," "Spring," "Le Soir," were produced in rapid succession, and were all exhibited at the Paris Salon. They all represented scenes of Poissy and its neighboring villages. Those familiar with Knight's paintings will recognize in them a sort of family resemblance, due to likeness of models and similarity of landscape backgrounds. Reference to the accompanying repro- ductions will give a fair idea of the character of his work. His peasant models are sufficiently alike to be sisters, his gardens are all rich with the flowers for which Poissy and its environs are famous. And it is the exceptional picture in which one does not catch a glimpse of the broad stream of the Seine winding its course through the valley. In a word, Knight recognized the artistic value of his peasant-girl models and of the scenery in which he found himself, and after his first suc- cesses was politic enough — one might almost say cour- ageous enough — to duplicate his can- vases, with only such modifications as were necessary to differentiate the pictures without de- stroying the family likeness. In gen- eral, his pictures are all beautiful bits of scenery, giving op- portunities for the finest effects of the LA BERG£RE DE R0LLEB0ISE landscapist s art, By Danie i Ridgway Knight 202 BRUSH AND PENCIL with one or more of his pet-girl models in the picturesque garb of the neighborhood in the immediate foreground, so as to give an equal opportunity for artistic portraiture. Bright of color scheme, happy of conception, and skillful of execu- tion, they are preeminently the type of pictures that please, and one is forced to recognize in their similarity, not a paucity of ideas or a limitation of artistic ability, but a shrewd perception of popular taste and a consistent adherence to a fixed policy. As the number of canvases increased, however, Knight himself felt the need of variety. He had not exhausted the landscape possi- bilities of Poissy and its vicinity, but he decided to move farther down the river, still keeping the comfortable studios in his Poissy chateau, a large, rambling, picturesque Louis XIII. building, of which he had become the owner, and which he had taken great pleasure in filling with a well-chosen collection of rare old furniture, tapes- tries, and bric-a- brac. Rolleboise, a tiny village between Nancy and Vernon, afforded the variety the artist desired, and thither he went with his eldest son, Aston. Half Rolleboise is on the bank of the Seine and the other half is on the hillside. Midway between the upper and lower parts of the town Knight secured a house, with a fine garden, and built himself a studio. The Seine makes one of its great bends just in front of the house, THE IDLER ™ d h ° m thC Studi ° By Daniel Ridgway Knight Olie Commands a DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT, PAINTER 203 THE SHEPHERD AND HIS FRIENDS By Daniel Ridgway Knight Copyright, the Artist view of the far- stretching plains, dotted here and there with woods that change their garb from green to russet with the sea- sons. The Poissy chateau has since been regarded as home, and the Rolleboise house as the workshop, in which, of course, the main occupa- tion is the produc- tion of pictures, varied only with fishing, rowing, shooting, and sailing, in which Knight delights, as a relaxation. Life in both establishments is simple and purposeful. Aston Knight, the eldest son, himself a landscape painter, is a constant companion of his father at Rolleboise, and the two are literally hermit artists. Mrs. Knight and the two younger boys visit them now and then for days or weeks at a time, and Aston and his father occasionally abandon their work for a month's residence at Poissy. In this way "La Bergere de Rolleboise," "A Summer Evening," "On the Terrace," "The Gardener's Daughter," "Curiosity," "July Morning," and "Quietude" were painted in the Rolleboise retreat. They are all Salon pictures, and among the most popular of Knight's canvases. Here, too, were produced many of his less important compositions. Rarely have any of his pictures been exhibited except at the Paris Salon, owing to the fact that most of his larger canvases have been sold as soon as exhibited at the Salon, and many of his minor works have been engaged before they were finished. One usually lives contentedly and happily where successful occu- pation begets honors and easy circumstances, and while it is to be regretted that Ridgway Knight has laid himself open to the charge of becoming a voluntary exile from home and home inspiration, one can scarcely wonder at the fact that he has thus prolonged his foreign residence for upward of thirty years. His Poissy chateau is an ideal home and his Rolleboise studio an incomparable workshop. At the Paris Salon he was awarded an "honorable mention" and a gold medal; at Munich he won a gold medal; at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889 he carried off the second medal; he was honored with the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1889 and the Cross of the 204 BRUSH AND PENCIL Order of St. Michael of Bavaria in 1892. In addition to these honors, he was awarded a Columbian Medal at Chicago in 1893; second medal at Antwerp; and Grand Medal of Honor at the Penn- sylvania Academy of Fine Arts at Philadelphia. He glories in the fact — as many will frankly admit he has a right to — that he is ON THE TERRACE AT ROLLEBOISE By Daniel Ridgway Knight Copyright, Braun, Clement & Co. a painter of popular pictures, in which happy conceptions success- fully worked out meet public approbation and command public patronage. Knight, moreover, is not one of the painters who is unknown in his own country. Several of the leading museums in the United States are now in possession of pictures painted by him. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has his " Hailing the Ferry"; the Milwaukee Museum has "The Shepherd and his Friends"; the Brooklyn Museum has his "La Bergere de Rolleboise," and the Union League has his "Summer Evening." All these pictures, and many another, have been made known to the public by engravings and other modes of reproduction. Most of the pictures herewith reproduced are new THE GARDENER'S DAUGHTER By Daniel Ridgway Knight AMERICAN PAINTINGS Plate Six DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT, PAINTER 207 AFTER BREAKFAST By Daniel Ridgway Knight to the American public, having been made from photographs for- warded direct from Poissy. The popularity of Knight's pictures has made his canvases in demand by publishers for reproductive purposes. Most of the accompanying pictures, it will be noticed, are copyrighted by leading art concerns, and thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of fine reproductions of them have been bought by people who could not afford to indulge in the luxury of the originals. The artist is still in the prime of life, and with his energy and indefatigable industry it is safe enough to predict that art lovers may reasonably expect many another canvas from him as happy in conception and dainty in execution as those enumerated. The broad sweeps of the Seine have not all been explored, nor have all the picturesque nooks and corners about Poissy and Rolleboise been painted. And if, perchance, the pretty peasant models made famous by Knight's canvases should age perceptibly, one would pardon the artist, and even abet his persistence, if he were to induce younger sisters, or perhaps daughters, to step into their wooden shoes and pose in their cast-off garments. Harold T. Lawrence.